Park Road Junior, Infant & Nursery School


Science Topic: Properties and Changes in Materials

Participants: Year 5

Artist: Fiona Goodwin

Cummins Buddy: Sarah-Jane Tonks

We’re using science to explore a new way of drawing; creating a journey of marks, patterns and images on cloth that are inspired by our family and each other. Responding to our collection of sometimes familiar and intriguing objects we’ll tell a story, a kind of timeline, incorporating some of our finds and treasures as we work alongside each other. Some of the changes we’ll make are as irreversible as the discoveries we’ll make together, creating new memories and marks that won’t fade.

Session 1:

What a great start! We’re already enthusiastic and working like a well-oiled machine to start our project featuring… RUST! Humeera our Cummins buddy, introduced us to turbo engines and explained how this chemical reaction is researched and avoided in the world of engineering. It’s fascinating! Beginning with two experiments this week using tap water, boiled water, salted water, salt, oil and nails, we’re trying to find out how to develop rust and how to speed up the process. We’re very excited but we’ll have to wait patiently for the results. In the meantime we’re moving on to something creative using some pre-rusted metals experimenting with ways of trapping them in paper and fabrics, and trying to get them to rust even more by using vinegar. We can’t wait for next week to see what happens!


I enjoyed the science experiments and I can’t wait to see how much rust the nails have after a week!

I liked the science experiments because we got to meet an engineer and I learnt lots of things. Science is pretty interesting!

My favourite bit was when we made patterns with the nails.


Session 2

Our rusting experiments have worked! We learned that the salt in the water helps to speed up the rusting process and our Cummins buddy Sarah-Jane explains this to us in more detail.  We realised how important air is to the rusting process. We start creating our emoji characters that are to feature in our final design. We assemble them more easily this week and we’re much more familiar and confident with materials. These emojis will be rusted and used to print onto different surfaces to create our final pieces. Inspired by Sarah-Jane’s measured drawings for the engineered parts she designs for turbo engines we are able to learn how and why they are created and learn how to create similar drawings ourselves. We’re really inspired and don’t want the session to end!

My favourite part was…everything!

I enjoyed meeting a real life scientist and learning all about her job.  I felt very inspired.

I enjoyed looking at the engineer’s plans and trying to make my own.

I’m going to try to make one at home!










Session 3

Three enormous lengths of fabric lie stretched out ahead of us… nine long meters of natural cotton waiting to absorb our choice of metal marks. We use pins, safety pins, nails of all shapes and sizes, florists wire, paperclips and washers. It’s time to create the surfaces and marks that will act as a background to our more intricate pieces. It’s difficult at first, the fabric is so much thicker than the paper and cotton we’re used to. We try different methods of fastening and attaching as we’ll have to pack them up to transport them for rusting. We understand the process and know we’ll have to wait a week for the rust colour to be as powerful as we’d like it to be.  It will be a long week of spraying water, vinegar and exposing our artwork to air. We reunite ourselves with our emojis and the very first paper and rust pieces. They are incredible! They are full of rust, waiting to be pressed in the jaws of the giant press and become our archive pieces.  We can’t wait but we’ll have to save this for next time.

I enjoyed using different types of metal to decorate the enormous cloth along the table.

I liked the way we used different objects for designs.

I enjoyed making patterns with things that rust and I have made a pyramid with an eye. Can we do this again next week?

I learnt that you can get the wire and tangle it around the pencil and take it out and then it will be curly.

Session 4

Sadly we are now on our final session of the project, the last leg of our rust journey. We’ve focused on creating some incredible surfaces permanently embedded with rust, our marks are irreversible, we know how to create them and accelerate and control the results we’re after. This prompts us to review and discuss it again from a different place: How might we prevent rust occurring in the future if that was our intention? Led by our engineer Sarah-Jane, we revisit the process and are introduced to associate metals, preventative measures, barriers and conditions, and adopting different approaches. We offer confident and considered comments and generate an extended list: a collection of words that will feature in our work and archive.  We manage to find the time to create them in wire too!


I had such a fantastic time during the Change Project! My favourite part was meeting Fiona, Sarah-Jayne and Humeera because I learnt so much from them. I hope they come back and visit us.

I learnt lots of new vocabulary which I can apply in my Science lessons.

I have loved the chance to work and be creative with my friends.

I can’t wait to see our projects in the art gallery!” Umar.“I’ve really enjoyed seeing how Art and Science can be taught together and would love to be involved in a project like this again. I’ve been so impressed with how the children worked so creatively.

From start to finish, this project has been a pleasure to be a part of. Fiona, Sarah-Jayne and Humeera have been fantastic to work with and learn from. Everyone involved in the project has been inspiring and completely committed to ensuring the best outcomes for our children. I’ve really enjoyed seeing how the children have collaborated in such a creative way and we can’t wait to see our projects on final display!